Published: March 24, 2016 by Steve Brown with the Dallas Morning News
The traffic on Dallas’ busy Mockingbird Lane is both on the ground and in the air.
Jets taking off a few blocks away at Love Field and cars lined up on the busy street are a testament to the surge in activity in the district.
“This whole area is undergoing a renaissance,” said developer Jorge Ramirez, who is turning two blocks of old industrial and commercial properties into a new mixed-use development.
His 35-acre, $200 million West Love development is the biggest new project in the Love Field area.
But it’s by far not the only thing happening around Dallas’ close-in airport.
With passenger traffic up more that 50 percent at Love Field and expansions at the nearby medical centers, the area south and west of the airport is attracting new development.
Apartment builder Fairfield Properties just cleared six acres south of Love Field at Denton Drive and Inwood Road where it is building a 347-unit complex.
“We like the changes we are seeing,” said Fairfield’s Zach Johnston. “The growth in the area and the proximity to the DART station across the street made the site attractive to us.”
The Inwood Station apartment project will open next summer.
Fairfield’s project is the latest in a series of apartment developments between Love Field and Parkland Hospital that have added thousands of rental units to the area.
More apartments are coming at the West Love project.
“Our first phase of apartments is 368 units,” Ramirez said. “And we have 10 townhouses, too. We plan to be under construction in about 90 days.”
The apartments and townhouses will join two new hotels, an office building and shopping center at the site at Mockingbird and Maple Avenue.
“The retail will be low profile, up against street — very pedestrian-oriented,” Ramirez said. “There have been a ton of new apartments going up in this area but no new gathering places, no restaurants.
“We have listened to the neighborhood and what it needs.”
Dallas developer KDC has picked a site in West Love where it plans to build an office project. It will be the first large office building in the Love Field area in about 30 years.
“People who never thought that this would be a market for new office construction will be surprised,” said real estate broker Robert Todd, who has worked the Love Field and Stemmons Freeway markets for years. “There is a real need for new space.”
KDC is already talking to potential tenants for the building, which will be adjacent to the new apartments and hotels.
“We are going to be in the heart of the site,” said Bill Guthrey, KDC senior vice president.
Guthrey said KDC is talking to businesses interested in moving to the area.
“This is exactly what the neighborhood has been looking for,” he said. “We think this is a great alternative to new office space in Uptown or Preston Center,” where buildings are much more expensive.
KDC’s office building will be at least 150,000 square feet.
“We can do up to 200,000 if someone comes along and needs more square footage,” Guthrey said.
The two hotels under construction on Mockingbird Lane will open late this year, said Perry Molubhoy, CEO of builder Atlantic Hotel Group.
The $49 million, eight-story combination Aloft and Element by Westin hotels will have a combined 244 rooms.
Molubhoy said his firm began looking at the market two years ago when flight restrictions at Love Field went away.
“The Wright amendment expiration was one of the factors to build close to Love Field airport,” Molubhoy said. “Besides, there was no new hotel close to Love Field and everything around is dated.”
Atlantic Hotels Group, which is partnering with Civitas Capital Group on the project, also has new projects in East and West Dallas.
Closer to the entrance to Love Field, developer and investor Viceroy Investments is about to begin a major overhaul of its 244-room Doubletree Hotel on Mockingbird.
“We are spending $2.5 million on the lobby and public spaces,” said Viceroy CEO Steve Rogers.
Viceroy recently rebranded the hotel and has made other upgrades.
“It’s already made a big difference,” Rogers said. “Along with the growth at Love Field, switching to a Hilton brand has brought us more revenue.”
Viceroy has gained control of a nearby restaurant building and old motel property at 3130 and 3140 Mockingbird and will redevelop that property.
“I’m working on a development plan right now for an upper to midscale restaurant,” Rogers said. “The motel will be demolished later this year.”
His firm also owns the adjacent 6500 Cedar Springs building, which houses a large event venue.
And a space formerly occupied by retailer Wisteria is being remodeled into a facility for automaker Tesla, Dallas building permits show.
Rogers will say only that “a luxury, high-end car company will occupy the premises.”
He’s also just purchased a 15,000-square-foot commercial building at 3448 Mockingbird that will be converted into office space.
“There is so much going on in the area,” Rogers said. “It’s all very positive.”
An investment group led by developer and investor Scott Rohrman’s 42 Real Estate LLC is still evaluating plans for a three-story midcentury modern office building it purchased last year at 2626 W. Mockingbird Lane.
The yellow metal-paneled building has been vacant for some time.
“We’ve got two or three people that have talked to us about it,” Rohrman said. “We’ve done a space plan for an office user and we have people talking to us about our parking garage.
“We get calls every week.”
Area poised for growth with resurgence of Love Field, new Parkland
DALLAS (Feb. 9, 2016) – Dallas Brookhollow Place, L.L.C., a closely held affiliate of Good Signature Management, L.L.C., has acquired 7610 N. Stemmons Freeway, a 127,000-square-foot building at the corner of Stemmons and Mockingbird.
The building, which is currently 44 percent occupied, was originally built by Houston developer Gerald Hines in 1981. Good Signature has plans for significant upgrades to the building to reposition it as one of the top properties in the Stemmons sub-market.
“We believe the Stemmons Corridor represents one of the best remaining value plays in North Texas,” said Ken Good, with Good Signature. ”The resurgence of Love Field, along with the economic growth associated with the New Parkland hospital, should drive tremendous growth to this area.”
The property is ideally suited for:
• Regional sales companies wanting to take advantage of its proximity to both Love Field and DFW Airport;
• Medical related companies looking for close proximity to Parkland, Children’s and UT Southwestern Hospitals; and
• High-density users requiring heavy parking.
“We were looking for a building close to downtown that had great parking and high visibility,” said Good. “Brookhollow Place will be an excellent fit for our clients who want to be close to downtown, but want lower rents and no-fee parking.”
The transaction was negotiated by Tom Strohbehn and Scot Farber with Cushman and Wakefield. Financing for the acquisition was provided by Tom Pulley with PlainsCapital Bank.
About Good Signature
Founded more than 20 years ago, Good Signature specializes in taking either completely vacant or under-utilized properties and turning them into vibrant, exciting places to work. Good Signature has refurbished more than 20 properties in Dallas, totaling approximately 700,000 square feet. The company’s mission is to provide cool, custom, updated spaces, at the most competitive price in the market. For more information, go to www.goodsignature.com.
By Katie Jo Whisenant
April 17, 2015
So your company’s success is skyrocketing and your staff just grew from 2 to 10. That home office, local coffee shop or coworking space is no longer large enough to maximize your productivity and fit your growth plan. While you’ve admitted it’s time to find a “big-boy office”, there is no need to sacrifice the collaborative environment to which you’ve grown accustomed. (more…)
A downtown Dallas developer envisions an eight-level parking structure that would be covered with a massive media screen. The parking garage would span Pacific Avenue.
Dallas has spent millions over the years acquiring a downtown parking lot it wants to turn into a park but doesn’t have the $10 million in fertilizer it needs to make the grass grow on Pacific Plaza, which remains little more than a car-crowded slab of blacktop.
Downtown developer Shawn Todd says he’s got a plan that doesn’t just plant a park, but also a sprawling eight-level parking structure stretching over Pacific Avenue that will alleviate the parking shortage in that part of downtown — and bring in a grocery store as well.
The “iconic structure,” in Todd’s words, would be covered with a massive media screen with a digital ticker-tape scroll like the one in Times Square and cost upward of $100 million. He insists he can and will fund the whole thing by himself.
“This is an expensive project because you’re spanning over a road system, you’re never touching the Pacific Plaza designated land,” Todd said. “And I am not asking the city of Dallas for one tax incentive, not one abatement, not one cent of TIF money. I’m not asking for anything. Nothing. This is new construction, and it doesn’t need it. When you’re buying old buildings, you need it. This doesn’t need it.”
What it does need is an existing park: 31-year-old Aston Park, a triangle of cracked concrete, desiccated tree trunks and dirt at Pacific Avenue, Harwood and Live Oak streets.
Todd’s plans call for building part of his garage and grocery on the existing Aston Park, which he’s proposing to buy from the city at “fair market appraised value.” Todd says the money from the sale could go toward Pacific Plaza.
Willis Winters, head of the city’s Park and Recreation Department, says that will be up to the Park Board, which may be reluctant to sell parkland, even if it’s to get a much bigger — and much greener — park in return, and one the city wouldn’t have to build or tend to once it’s completed, a la the deck park over Woodall Rodgers.
“The model for Klyde Warren Park has certainly been successful, so we’re open-minded towards it,” Winters said.
Todd said he hopes to capitalize on the “synergy” of the deck park’s success.
“Our city was built with the phrase: Let the dirt fly,” said Todd, who converted the circa-1929 U.S. Post Office and Court House at 400 N. Ervay into a zero-vacancies apartment building. “The ability to pass the hat and fund $10 million for the park shouldn’t be that difficult.”
Todd’s plan, drawn up by HKS Architects, also calls for razing the 17-story, 62-year-old Corrigan Tower at 1900 Pacific Ave., which is currently owned by John Kirtland.
Last fall, Kirtland initially proposed planting a parking structure on Pacific Plaza itself, but Winters and other city officials nixed that idea, insisting they had no interest in sacrificing parkland or subsidizing a parking lot. Kirtland also owns the next-door Tower Petroleum Building, which he plans to convert into a boutique hotel. He confirms that he’s agreed to sell Corrigan to Todd.
“And I am donating every penny of profit to the park, so I won’t make a penny off this transaction,” Kirtland says. “A park is just as important for the hotel guests. So is parking. And restaurants and places to shop.”
Of course, Todd’s plans for the development are all preliminary, pending approval from various departments — among them transportation, economic development, parks, planning and zoning, the Landmark Commission and, eventually, the Dallas City Council. Winters says there are other developers pitching the city their own proposals, but Dallas City Hall sources say Todd’s is the only practical solution so far, and the only one that’s financially and physically viable.
“What we now have on the table is an answer to a whole lot of different questions,” said John Crawford, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., which has been working with Todd. “We’ve got an opportunity to convert a surface lot into a lovely park that will accentuate our continued live-work-and-play concept, and we’ve got a big demand for parking, and this will help address that. It’s kind of the topping on the cake for that part of downtown.”
Published: 12:15 pm on February 17, 2014.
By: Robert Wilonsky email@example.com
Four years ago Crockett looked like a decaying, abandonded haunted (school) house. Today it almost looks brand-new.
Four years ago (this month!) it looked like the 111-year-old Davy Crockett School on Carroll Avenue in East Dallas was a goner despite its designation as a Dallas landmark. The building, vacated by the Dallas Independent School District in 1989, was a trash-strewn target for taggers; calling it an eyesore was an insult to other eyesores. (See the video below.) Briefly used for administrative offices, the district eventually sold it (for cheap — 239,000 whole dollars) to Ken Good, who promised a redo without getting too specific about its future use.
Turns out, the 50,000-square-foot structure, with 27 classrooms, could be anything at this point — yours, even.
A peek through the front door of Davy Crockett
Good says the redo is about 80 percent finished: It has a new roof and a new electrical system, and a century’s worth of wear has been removed from the exterior. And, he says, it’s this close from landing a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. (Good even had to have the windows remade to look like the originals, no small task.) All that remains on the to-do list: painting the interior, staining the floor and installing HVAC. Those tasks won’t be completed until a new tenant moves in.
“We’re just waiting for the right user to come along, whether that’s a lease or a sale,” says Good.
He says he’s spoken with about 20 would-be tenants about a variety of possible uses, ranging from residential to a charter school. KIPP Public Charter Schools was in talks to move in to Davy Crockett, says Good, but ultimately decided to look elsewhere — south of Interstate 30.
“I told them I’d give it to them for a song and a dance,” says Good. “But the problem with a charter school is the neighborhood’s almost too nice. They want to be where the schools are so bad parents are lined up to get their kids in, so the school’s fully enrolled by day one.” (Coincidentally, DISD is also looking to reopen two currently closed campuses while repurposing others in Far East Dallas.)
At one point, he says, the historic school house — the first built during the district’s self-proclaimed “early expansion era” that lasted from 1900 through 1929 — looked like it might become an arts center of some kind, or perhaps even an art school or a nursing school. But for now, a lease-or-sale sign remains affixed to the gym, where, on Saturday afternoon, workers were still coming and going.
Crockett as it looked about a century ago — and as it more or less looks today (File photo)
“We just haven’t found the right fit yet,” says Good, who adds that he was more or less cajoled into buying the school by preservationists who wanted to make sure it didn’t crumble into nothingness as a result of demolition by neglect.
“When I bought it, I didn’t really do much due diligence,” says Good. “I was shocked to find the bones were in good shape. It’s amazing how well built it is. It has a two-foot-thick foundation on it. I’ve done a number of downtown buildings, and I’ve never seen a building as solidly built as that thing. When I first went to see the building, and I fell in love with the architecture. It was one of those if-you-build-it-they-will-come type of deals.”
Incidentally, Crockett was added to Preservation Dallas’ Most Endangered List in 2010 — along with the Statler Hilton and 508 Park Ave., both of which are also being resurrected.
By: Steve Brown
Published: February 14th, 2014
Since the 1970s, downtown Dallas has been playing a defensive game with the suburbs when it comes to business.
Millions of square feet of office tenants have migrated to Richardson, Plano, Las Colinas and Frisco hunting newer workplaces.
But word this week that a major employer from California is considering a move to one of downtown’s office skyscrapers should be all the proof anyone needs that the game has changed.
Omnitracs LLC, a hightech firm based in San Diego that services the transportation and logistics industry, is eyeing the KPMG Centre tower on Harwood Street near the Arts District.
A consolidation of operations by Omnitracs and sister companies could bring as many as 1,000 jobs to Dallas’ core in a combination of local hires and out of state moves.
The deal would also rescue an aging skyscraper that has lost most of its major tenants in the last couple of years.
Omnitracs isn’t the only outside firm that’s taken an interest in downtown Dallas’ large supply of well-priced office space.
Over on Elm Street at Thanksgiving Tower, construction crews have started gutting the first five floors of office space that will soon house operations of Santander Consumer USA, a consumer finance company.
Santander, which is owned by an international banking giant, plans to move its offices and hundreds of workers from a building in the Love Field area to downtown.
With the supply of vacant office space drying up in many other business districts, tenants are increasingly looking at downtown. And new buildings that are going up have much higher rent costs than those downtown.
It for sure doesn’t hurt that in the last 10 years we’ve spent billions of dollars in the core of the city on knockout cultural facilities, new parks, transportation improvements and a convention hotel.
Businesses have certainly noticed.
“We have recently toured several suburban tenants through downtown buildings,” said Jeff Ellerman, vice chairman in the Dallas office of CBRE Group. “These buildings have everything, including plenty of expansion space for companies.
“As the suburbs are filling up, downtown has the value of light rail and it is able to house high-density office users,” Ellerman said.
The changes in Dallas’ central business district, including thousands of new apartment units that have increased the 24-hour population, are putting the area back on corporate America’s radar screen, said Mike Wyatt, executive vice president of commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
“These new office moves will light a fire under some other tenants that have been waiting on transactions,” Wyatt said. “It could have a catalytic effect.”
Some major companies have already made the move downtown.
In 2006, Comerica Bank moved its headquarters downtown from Michigan.
And AT&T, the worldwide telecommunications giant, moved its head offices there in 2008.
Hammond Perot, a director in the Dallas office of economic development, said the number of business inquiries about downtown, including requests from outof-state firms, is growing.
“You are seeing a return on that investment we have made,” Perot said. “Just drive around and see.”
While he expects the number of business workers downtown to grow in the next few years, Perot is realistic enough not to expect an outright exodus from the burbs.
“The folks that are looking for offices up in Frisco and Plano aren’t going to be looking downtown,” he said. “They are different markets with different cultures and workforces.
“Of course, I’m not saying it hasn’t happened and won’t happen again,” Perot said. “But it will be limited.”
Published: 12 May 2014 08:59 PM
Updated: 12 May 2014 09:46 PM
Expanding entrepreneurial firms are turning the lights on in a Dallas office tower than went dark almost 20 years ago.
The companies are moving from Dallas’ Uptown district to the empty 211 N. Ervay tower downtown.
It’s the 18-story mid-century office high-rise that has been both derided and praised for its bright blue exterior.
The new tenants say they are just fine with that eye-popping exterior. Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters, which foster start-up firms, are taking two floors.
“These groups have bought into Dallas’ core and are making an investment there,” said real estate broker B.D. Amend. The Amend Group represented the companies in their leases of the tower. “The owners are scrambling to get the building ready.”
The firms and some of their related companies plan to be in the building July 1.
“The first time we saw the building we marked it off our list because everybody said it couldn’t be ready in time,” said Tech Wildcatters’ co-founder Gabriella Draney. “But they are moving at a rocket pace.”
Draney said the companies also looked at potential locations in West Dallas and Deep Ellum before deciding to move downtown. She expects other companies seeking start-up and collaborative office space to follow their lead.
“It will define where the start-up community’s epicenter is,” said Carl Soderstrom, one of the founders of both Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters. “The city’s concept of an entrepreneurial village could happen in this building.”
Not a lot has been happening at 211 N. Ervay for a long time.
Constructed in 1958 by famed Dallas developer Leo Corrigan, the building with its two-tone blue metal panels has been derelict since the 1990s.
A series of developers looked at renovating the tower for apartments or hotel space. But a lack of parking in the structure stifled those plans.
In 2012 investment group Alterra International Holdings acquired 211 N. Ervay and has been looking at a variety of uses.
Businessman Mike Sarimsakci, who represents the investment partnership that owns the building, said he’s talking to other office tenants and has a furniture store retailer that wants part of the ground floor.
“We are working on the building and will move very fast,” said Sarimsakci, who’s taking the top floor of the tower for himself.
Sarimsakci said he’s arranged parking for the office tenants in nearby garages and at another property he controls a few blocks away at 500 S. Ervay.
He plans to run a shuttle bus between the two locations. “We are in the process of acquiring a double-decker bus,” Sarimsakci said.
A New Orleans-based real estate firm has completed its long-awaited purchase of a downtown Dallas skyscraper and is ready to go on redevelopment.
HRI Properties on Wednesday acquired the 32-story 1600 Pacific office tower, which it will convert into a combination of residential units and hotel space. The project will cost almost $70 million and is being partially funded with incentives from the city of Dallas.
The black glass tower, which also fronts on Elm Street, has been vacant for more than five years.
Construction will start on the project almost immediately, said Steve Nance, HRI’s vice president.
“The contractor has been in there preparing for the last few weeks, and we are ready to go,” Nance said. “Well have about a 161/2-month construction period.”
Local firm Andres Construction is the general contractor on the project. Merriman & Associates of Dallas is the architect.
Nance said the lower 14 floors of the tower will be used for parking and 171 hotel rooms.
The top of the high-rise will be redeveloped into 186 apartments.
“There will be a pool and meeting facilities for the hotel on the fifth floor,” he said. “All of the parking we will need will be self-contained in the building.
“There will be a restaurant and bar on the ground floor on the Elm Street side.”
Hotel by Hilton
The hotel will be branded as a Hilton Garden Inn.
An outdoor recreation and lounge area for the apartment residents will be constructed on top of the tower on the 32nd floor.
Built in 1964 as the headquarters of LTV Corp., the almost half-million-square-foot building is in the heart of Dallas’ financial district.
Previous owners had planned to convert the empty high-rise into a luxury residential hotel. But that development failed to get off the ground after work was done to demolish the interior.
“We’ve done four other projects like this with a mixed use,” Nance said.
HRI Properties is one of the country’s most experienced redevelopers of historic and vacant commercial structures.
The 32-year-old real estate firm has done 61 large-building redevelopments around the country with apartments, hotel rooms, office and retail space. HRI redeveloped the historic Blackstone Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.
“We see Dallas as a market that’s coming up quickly,” Nance said. “We convinced our group of investors and lenders that it was time to invest in Dallas.”
High-rises going fast
The 1600 Pacific tower is one of the last large, vacant buildings in downtown Dallas. HRI has been working on redevelopment plans for the tower for more than a year.
The 1600 Pacific sale is the fourth such transaction so far this year downtown.
In February, New York-based real estate investor and developer Olympic Property Partners closed its acquisition of the 52-story former First National Bank tower at 1401 Elm Street. Work has started to remodel the skyscraper into apartments, shops and office space.
In early March, New Orleans-based KFK Group bought 32-story One Main Place on Main Street with plans to remodel the mostly empty office building.
And late last month, World Class Capital Group of Austin acquired the 34-story KPMG Centre on Harwood Street.
Both those office skyscrapers are also due for a makeover.
“The last year, the activity level has been huge, and what we have seen in the last six months has been unbelievable with people stepping up with their money,” said John Crawford, CEO of the economic development group Downtown Dallas Inc. “These are quality people who are coming in with significant experience.”
The founder of the firm that sold 1700 Commerce says a new hotel will be a catalyst for further development.
Published: 26 September 2014 09:50 PM
Updated: 26 September 2014 10:50 PM
A historic downtown Dallas office tower has changed hands for the first time in 20 years.
And the new owners plan to convert the old high-rise into a hotel.
Boxer Property has sold the 21-story 1700 Commerce building at Commerce and Ervay streets to Irving-based hotel firm NewcrestImage LLC.
NewcrestImage recently looked at converting a building in downtown’s West End Historic District.
Instead, the company has purchased the 92-year-old 1700 Commerce building, across the street from Neiman Marcus’ flagship downtown store.
Boxer Property founder Andrew Segal said he sold the historic office tower after NewcrestImage approached his firm about a deal.
“It was one of our first buildings which we bought back in the dark days of downtown Dallas,” said Segal, whose Houston-based firm now owns properties all over the state. “In hindsight, back then I should have bought everything I could.
“It turned out to be a great asset and everything is getting better in downtown Dallas,” he said.
Segal said redeveloping the old office tower into hotel rooms will add more life downtown and be a catalyst for further development.
“It takes office space off the market and brings people there at night,” he said.
Boxer Property still has its Pacific Place office building on Elm Street, which recently became the home of Texas A&M University’s expanded downtown Dallas campus.
“In that building we can’t build new space fast enough, there’s so much demand,” Segal said.
The 1700 Commerce Building — which Segal acquired in 1992 — was originally constructed as the Allen Building.
It was developed by prominent Dallas lawyer Arch C. Allen and designed by architect James N. McCammon.
The brick and stone office building cost about $1.5 million when it was new.
By the time Segal bought the property 70 years later, he paid only about $525,000.
Terms of the latest sale were not disclosed.
NewcrestImage owns and operates more than a dozen hotels, with five properties under construction and more in planning stages. The company has new hotel developments in East Texas, the Houston area, Waco, Midland and Oklahoma City.
NewcrestImage just opened two hotels in Grapevine, a Courtyard by Marriott and a TownePlace Suites hotel.
And it’s developing a historic downtown New Orleans hotel into an AC Hotel, Marriott’s new urban-style hotels, which are similar to Starwood’s Aloft brand.
The 1700 Commerce building is one of several downtown commercial buildings repurposed as hotels.
The former United Fidelity Life Insurance Building at 1025 Elm St. was converted to a Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel.
And the historic Magnolia Building on Commerce has been a hotel since 1997.
Also, the Santa Fe warehouse building on Young Street was remodeled into an Aloft hotel.
Owners of the historic Tower Petroleum Building on Elm have proposed turning the art deco high-rise into a boutique hotel.
Hotel rooms are under construction at the former LTV Building on Elm Street and planned for the One Main Place tower on Main Street.